July 1st - 9th Lakeside

It's a hot week in Southwest Michigan. Lots of posts for this time period. I've taken an overload of photos as at the end of this time (little over a week), I'm off to England to visit my family for a couple of weeks so there will be no walks at Asylum Lake.

I'm starting the week off with walks along the edge of the lake. It's my favourite place to start on a normal morning. There is something peaceful about beginning the day at the lake, watching the birds swimming, catching food and just generally enjoying the sounds. There aren't a lot of people around so it's usually just me and the early morning sounds. 

The Beavers' Lodge. No sign of the beavers this week! 

Look at how very green everything looks! 

I stand out on the point and can see a deer making its way through the reeds and out in the water. It must be quite shallow there! 

There are still a family of Wood Ducks around. 

The babies are growing bigger, and Mum is quite happy to let them swim a little further away, watching carefully from her spot on a log near to the shore.


The male Wood Duck isn't around. Wood Ducks don't mate for life and abandon the female either once incubation begins or not long after the babies are born.

Not too far away are a Mallard family. 

Male Mallards don't stay around after the babies are born either! 

Early morning the view from the beach is lovely. 

Some lovely clouds reflected in the lake. 

And a lovely water lily. They are beginning to flower now. 

It's the perfect segue into the next post - flowers, bugs and butterflies. 

June 26th - 30th Fields, Flowers and Birds

Walking through the woods I see a few birds. The lovely Grosbeaks seem to like the cover of the trees. I catch a flash of red and black and focus in on him. 

It looks like he's catching bugs. I wonder if that means there are babies around somewhere! 

I was glad to see a couple of Eastern Towhees this week. They are a summer favourite of mine. I like hearing their song and I'm always glad to be able to catch a glimpse of them. 

This is a male. Look at his lovely eyes - they are a deep, dark brown, appearing almost red. A couple of interesting facts about them. They are considered part of the Sparrow Family. A group of Towhees (though they aren't often found in groups) is called a Teapot of Towhees or a Tangle of Towhees. 

On the edge of the woods as I walk to the open fields I hear the Meow-y call of a Grey Catbird. Their call always makes me smile. 

I don't often walk in the back field during the winter. There aren't many trees there and the grasses all flatten with the winds and the rain, but late springtime, when things start to grow, and the grasses get taller, the field starts to fill with wildflowers, birds and bees. 

Things have only just started to grow taller. A Red-Winged Blackbird is already enjoying the area. 

As well as a Common Yellow-throated Warbler. These little warblers will call the field home for most of the summer. 

Walking through the field one day this week I heard a new sound. It was a birdsong I haven't heard before. I turned on my Merlin app on my phone and something new came up - a Dickcissel. What a strange name! I followed the sound as closely as I could and captured a glimpse of the bird. It's song is quite loud. It was perched on one of the tall grasses. 

What an interesting looking bird! 

Some of the flowers that can be seen growing nearby

There is Milkweed starting to grow taller and begin to flower. This plant is important as it is a host plant for the caterpillars of Monarch Butterflies. Their numbers are falling due to the loss of Milkweed. 

It's such a wonderful plant. I love seeing its pods and the fluffy seeds that come from it. For now the flowers are just beginning to bud. Bees love the plant too. No bee on this one but nearby on a clover plant a bee is sipping nectar. 

As I walk through the field, I see blackberries beginning to grow! There are so many spots around the preserve where berries grow. Some are picked by people, others by the birds. 

They aren't nowhere near ready to eat, but I'm sure it won't be that long. 

As I continue my walk through the field a couple of rabbits dart from the path as I walk by. I managed to get a photo of one before he took off. 

They are at the lake all year round, but in summer I seem to see more of them. They are often on the paths and dart off into the undergrowth when they see a person or are startled. 

It's back through the front fields to the car park. I love this view!

It's the end of another week and another month at Asylum Lake.  I've seen a lot this month, watched things grow and change. I can't wait to see what July brings. It's one of the hottest months of the year in Michigan. It's also the month that big bite-y flies come out. I'll have to dig out a scarf to keep them from my hair! Lots of bug spray too and watching for ticks! Hopefully lots of good moments too with lots to see!

June 26th - 30th In the Woods

It's cooler in the woods. Lots of birds and animals and seeking shade from the hot sun and taking refuge in the woods. People walk through, but it's not as busy as the more popular paths. I like the woods. There is something magical about them. I almost feel as though I'm far away from civilisation, when there is a main road not too far away. In the woods it is harder to hear the traffic. Especially this year as the nearby road has been closed one-way.

There have been so many deer around these last few days of June. They seem to love the shelter of the woods and can often be seen laying down or just wandering. At this time of year they don't seem too afraid of people. I walk softly and quietly, trying not to scare them. Most of them don't seem to notice me, once in a while there will be a curious one who tilts their head at me and try to make sense of this strange woman watching them. 

Some of their antlers are getting quite big now!

Sharing the woods with the deer are some chipmunks and squirrels. Lots of them!

Up in the trees maybe a sign of someone making this tree its home

Someone or several things are definitely making their home here! 

Paper Wast nest. They can be quite nasty, but their nests are really quite a work of art! 

And leading into the next post of birds, I was so excited to catch a glimpse of an owl again this week deep in the woods.